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 Post subject: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 22, 2018 5:59 pm
Posts: 25
This Berec transistor auto radio is pretty much the first transistor radio I've worked on in real depth. All the others were tube sets.
Some history. It stands for British Ever-Ready Company and the use of auto radios was a clever ploy to get around the licence. You could class it as a car radio but the truth is it would also unplug and run on a regular 9 volt battery. This radio is very well constructed but sort of spoiled by the upholstered, wooden box case. The radio is dated 1960.
When this radio first came to me it worked quite well on just MW. It picked up a lot of stations. I didn't use it much. Maybe 2 or so years later, it started to fade. It would sometimes stop working completely. When I peered inside best as I could, I could see that really the time had come to actively work on the radio as a project. It was pretty grotty inside and the capacitors looked a bit aged.
At present, I can state I didn't expect such a prolonged job. I started by changing the electrolytics. This made a big difference. I cleaned the potentiometer with some Servisol. Likewise the switch contacts. At this point, what tended to happen was I was getting far fewer stations but the audio quality was getting really far better. Sometimes, though, the radio would stop working and only resume if you turned the chassis around and moved it about. I assumed some bad connections.
The big decision to make was related to this small switch board I can describe as follows. It's basically a strip-board with lots of solder lugs and moving wooden strip that, when pushed in or out, changes the circuit from 12 to 9 volts, and switches in various capacitors and so on. However, this board was seemingly the cause of the radio fading. Beneath were trapped wires and a fair few wax capacitors (as well as a few polarised Hunts). It was held tight with rivets and screws and also (worryingly) a few tight soldered leads. In the end I decided to do this job right, I simply had to remove the board and risk it. Rivets were drilled out and leads snipped and then noted down in diagrams. I finally got the strip-board clear and pulled out enough to access what was below. To be honest, there was a lead from an IF can that had a near break in it and when that was replaced, this seemed to stop the radio cutting out.
All in all, this has been a fairly tough radio to work on. It turned out to give me a bit of experience. I am far from home and dry yet. There remain a few capacitors I can now access and these too will be replaced. The RF capacitors I'm not too sure about as I think these are wax-paper and not mica but I'll have to check that. Clearly too many changed capacitors may well throw the radio further out of alignment yet the impression I get is the RF caps may not be in such great shape.
The main success so far is that the audio quality is really good so far. It sounds really O.K.


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Dec Sat 24, 2011 9:17 pm
Posts: 1798
Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
That is quite a unique set you have, happy to see it preserved. Is there a remote speaker, or is the speaker in the lid?

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WTB, looking for a pillow speaker for a Dahlberg.
[:l>) Found one! Thanks, Gaelle at decophobia!


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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Feb Sat 03, 2018 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Mar Mon 17, 2008 5:05 am
Posts: 5094
Location: Ashhurst, New Zealand
Many British radio's of that period had the usual Motorola tyoe car antenna socket and some even had sockets in the bottom to connect speakers fitted in the car and to connect to the car power. The main reason was that if you had a radio permanently wired into the car then you had to pay for another radio licence, but if you could withdraw the radio from it's mounting cradle and have it play then it was a portable and no licence was required, you were covered by your home licence.

It must have been the same in Europe as I have a Nordmende Globetrotter which has all the sockets in the bottom to connect to the car systems - the schematic even shows the components in the cradle.

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 Post subject: Re: BEREC Auto Radio
PostPosted: Feb Mon 05, 2018 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 22, 2018 5:59 pm
Posts: 25
You can see the speaker in the pic. One of the causes behind this radio cutting out (the reason I dismantled it), was an IF can wire that had a sharp bend in it. Re-soldering a fresh wire was pretty tricky. I had to extend the tip of the soldering iron a bit to get in. With one or two wires replaced around the small board, the radio is much improved.
I keep meaning to test the old electrolytics out of curiosity. The way they did this in the 1940s was to charge up the said capacitor and then discharge it into a small speaker. If the capacitor is good, it will give out a reasonable pop. In the case of the Hunts I removed, I'm not expecting much of a noise. Also, now I have that troublesome board lifted up, there are a few more of those Hunts capacitors to replace.
In short, it will take a bit of time. You'd be surprised how good the radio sounds now. I'm not yet sure why I'm not getting many stations on MW and nothing now on LW.
If anyone has a source for the service manual, I think that would help me. The snag is I can't download as I use library computers with firewalls. I find tube radios are normally pretty easy to get schematics but the transistor radios are harder to source an online manual.


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